Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sewing Through the Cinema-Paris When it Sizzles

 by Amy~ViennasGrace

        Get your tissues ready, no not that kind of tissue silly, this isn't a tear jerker.  I'm searching sewing patterns modern and vintage to find the looks featured in classic films. Although it might not be possible to duplicate the exact look, I'll show you how to easily mimic the feeling of the style. Soon you'll see that a silver screen wardrobe is only a pattern away.

Paris When it Sizzles, 1964 Romance Comedy~

Gabrielle Simpson is hired as a young assistant for Richard Benson, a Hollywood screenwriter.  The young and carefree assistant helps Richard get over his writer's block by acting out the possible plots for his upcoming 

film. The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower

Audrey Hepburn as Gabrielle Simpson/Gabby 
William Holden as Richard Benson/Rick
Let me just say for the record, this movie is not a favorite of mine. The story line is not that appealing to me, so it's a good thing I'm not a 1960s movie critic. On the other hand Audrey, Audrey, Audrey...need I say more?  There isn't a thing this gal ever wore that wasn't timeless fashion. There are 5 main dresses worn by Audrey in this film.  The gorgeous candy color tutti-frutti-sherbert colors are the perfect canvas for the high fashion simplistic designs from an obviously inspired Hubert de Givenchy.
FEATURING each and every dress by GIVENCHY

The first time we see Audrey in Paris When it Sizzles, she is wearing this pistachio collarless 3/4 length sleeve jacket, with a subtle waist shape lending to a more feminine silhouette, than just a typical boxy jacket.  Hitting perfectly above large flap pockets on her front pleat skirt. The front pleat gives a hint of the bell shaped skirt that is about to become quite s design feature of this film. (behind Audrey of course)
To recreate this look, focus on the jacket following the contour of the waist and hitting slightly at high hip line. The 3/4 lenth also is a plus and keeping it collarless is the big key. The skirt with a curve shape, but not too pencil skirt, pleats will help with this shaping. The more modern pattern here has a boxier style jacket but the symmetrical pleats give a similar shape. 
          patternshop McCall's 5734                                                              RetroFlos Butterick 2435

Two 1960 Vogue patterns one designed by Jacques Heim ( from 1967) and the other by Christian Dior (from 1965) are a slightly off track.  But I just couldn't pass up sharing, they both have such a great 1960s Paris feel.  Either one of these suits would be a fabulous suit substitute for Audrey's pistachio suit, and let us just agree, they have both have Paris written all over them, literally. We should all have one or two suits like this in our closet. go sew it girl! 

DecadesofCharm Vogue 1711                                                retromonkeys Vogue 1484

Here is Audrey in her Ooh-la-la Nightie, It's sweet and it is cute and the most perfect shade of sweet dream blue.  Lace sleeves..got to say it again ooh-la-la, so Paris!
Need I say more, this one is almost a perfect match, I would live in this glamorous night gown as my new around the house fashion.  Hi UPS driver,  Hello PTO parents, well maybe not PTO parents....I'm wearing it! 

Audrey wears this fabulous tangerine dress throughout a large portion of the film.  Now I have to admit this was a hard style to find a sewing pattern to match all the design elements.  It has a slit neckline, full wing collar, and the back...well it's a quite unexpected contrast, with a soft back drape, the perfect "watch me walk away" statement.  The bodice is fitted and the skirt is a soft version of a bell shape, gathered yet not exaggerated.  
 Being that finding a dress pattern to match both the style features of the front and style features of the back, I focused on the draped back and finding a dress pattern that is sleeveless or cap sleeves. Wow the glamorous patterns I found, take a look! 

Allthepreciousthings Vogue 1045                                                     RomasMaison Vogue 4112

Fragolina Butterick 7653                                                       SoVintageOnEtsy Simplicity 6218                                                 

Here she is in the perfect sleeveless coconut white dress, it must be a slightly stiffer fabric than the tangerine dress, the bell shape is perfectly executed and is simple design at its finest. She has a lavender to give a little color accent to this beautiful crisp white dress.  I think this dress sets a new standard,  we should all be on the hunt for the perfect LWD (little white dress).  go sew it girl!
Pretty perfect fit with this Givenchy pattern from 4 years after the film.  He and Audrey were very close friends and I think he had her in mind with almost every one of his designs.
This pink cotton candy dress makes a quick show to finish off the film.  Again the high fashion bell shaped skirt on this cocktail ensemble, accented by a side waist bow. 
It is a rare thing to see bell shaped skirts anywhere outside of high end designer fashion. This look is easy to obtain though vintage sewing patterns. You will be the talk and envy of all your fashion guru friends. Here's your chance, I love the look and even if you are not ready to express your style with a bell shaped skirt, here are many options with a more fitted skirt and the lovely overblouse like Audrey Hepburn in Paris When it Sizzles.

 allthepreciousthings Simplicity 3662                                     FriskyScissors Advance 9714

PatternsFromThePast Simplicity 5020                                retromonkeys Simplicity 6174

                                    Sydcam123 Vogue 4213              DejaVuPatterns Advance 9583

How can you get all this style into your closet? I told you, pull out your tissues! Pattern tissue that is, go sew it girl!

Here is just a few of the Vintage Sewing Patterns designed by Givenchy, all available from the Fabulous Pattern Pattern Team on Etsy

Here's another treasury inspired by Paris When it Sizzles, featuring some Pattern Patter Team Vintage Sewing Patterns, along with other fun Etsy finds.

The relationship between Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy lasted through decades.  The fashion will last a lifetime.


  1. A terrific and oh so informative post, Amy. I love all the patterns you have selected. Thank you for this article.

    1. Thanks, and even though it's not one of my favorite films, Audrey's wardrobe is so classic.

  2. I enjoyed reading about the fashions and the pictures are Oo-La-La!!
    Great information - thanks for sharing!

    1. Givenchy and Audrey together just makes you want to say Oo-la-la! :)

  3. Hi! I am Janet D and think this is a wonderful blog. And that is before I saw my contribution of the mini calico cat kit. Thanks for so much info! Great job!

  4. What a great story. Love Audrey Hepburn she had wonderful style. The dress patterns are gorgeous!

  5. What a lot of work you have done. I love it.

  6. I love this kind of post! It's one thing to see and admire clothing in a vintage movie (and all the items that Audrey Hepburn wears are fabulous!). It is another to provide patterns that are similar so that you can sew a particular style for yourself. That is just the best and totally wonderful!! Thanks heaps for this interesting and delightful look at vintage fashion through the movies. :D

  7. Nicely done, Amy! You found some great patterns to sew the look. I love all the bell skirts.

  8. WOW! I'm blown away...what a great post! I can tell that loads of research went into this one. I love all of the comparison examples. Highly impressive!

  9. Fabulous...Herbert gave Audrey her effortless style...love the bell skirts.

  10. Thanks all! Fun to write this one. I have a whole new love of bell shaped skirts, really loving that French fashion feel.

  11. Amy, what an incredible blog blog post! Eye candy to the max, such inspiration. Makes me want to sew!!!

  12. Wow, fabulous blog post! I just put 'Paris When it Sizzles' at the top of my Netflix list. I have to see those dresses in action, even if the movie doesn't sizzle so much itself. Gorgeous yummy colors and beautiful shapes - so inspirational! Thanks Amy!

  13. Fabulous fashion...who doesn't love Audrey and Givenchy?

  14. Beautiful fashions! Great post Amy!

  15. So many gorgeous dresses, and even more great patterns we can use to make them! Thanks, Amy!

  16. Well researched. Enjoyed this post very much and add a link to my fb page. Bellafabric

  17. Amy, Terrific article, interesting and informative. Love all the images from that movie-I have it in my collection, mostly because of the fashions :) Thanks so much for including our pattern in your article!

  18. Love how you put this together, Amy! Great job, and very entertaining read. Nothing beats a classic movie, does it? Also, thanks for featuring our Givenchy - he had a great muse in Audrey, for sure.

  19. Enjoyed reading this post! Thanks for including my pattern!

  20. Thanks everyone! Audrey is always a fun fashion subject! It seems that she and Givenchy were a hit time after time.